New York police spying on Eric Garner solidarity activists


This video from the USA says about itself:

No Charges For White Cop In Eric Garner Killing, Despite Shocking Video

3 December 2014

“A Staten Island grand jury voted on Wednesday not to bring criminal charges in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white police officer.

The decision was reached after months of testimony, including from the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo. The grand jury reached its decision less than two weeks after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., declined to bring charges against a white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

An autopsy by the city’s medical examiner found that Mr. Garner’s death was a homicide resulting from the chokehold and the compression of his chest by police officers.” The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

By Sandy English in the USA:

New York cops spied on activists against police violence

29 August 2015

A report published last week in Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept has revealed that police spied and exchanged information on activists who led protests against police violence last winter in New York City.

The spying was conducted by a special counterterrorism squad from police working for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

The protests erupted after the refusal of a grand jury to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the murder of Eric Garner. Pantaleo was videotaped strangling Garner during a targeted arrest for allegedly selling tax-free cigarettes in the borough of Staten Island on July 17 last year.

As he lay on the ground, Garner told police officers on the scene several times that he could not breathe. He was given no first aid and was pronounced dead at the hospital. His death was later ruled a homicide by the city coroner’s office.

Activists obtained 118 pages of police reports from the MTA and 161 pages from the MetroNorth Railroad through New York’s Freedom of Information Law. The documents cover protests that took place from December 2014 to February 2015 in Grand Central Station in Manhattan where the MTA police have jurisdiction. A number of protests in the timeline occurred there.

The NYPD has not released any documents, but those that have been supplied reveal an information exchange between the NYPD and the MTA police, and the presence of both NYPD as well as MTA undercover officers at the protests.

Police tracked demonstrators as they were moving around Grand Central Station and in the city and identified specific individuals among the demonstrators. One undercover officer sent frequent email updates on the activities of protesters at the station during a protest on Martin Luther King Day in January. These included notice of the presence of Jose LaSalle, a founder of CopWatch Patrol Unit, in an email that includes his photograph.

Another email chain from December includes a chart of upcoming protests, including one organized by high-school students.

It is worth noting that some of the police spying occurred after Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a halt to the protests against police violence in the aftermath of the shooting death of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn on December 20 by a deranged gunman, although the documents indicate that surveillance of protesters also took place before de Blasio’s plea.

The political atmosphere during the first half of December in New York City was one of intensifying anger at police violence, particularly over the Garner case, but also including the dozens of police shootings in the city over the past decade, as well as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the refusal in November of a grand jury to indict his killer, Officer Darren Wilson.

During the period from December 4 to December 15, large demonstrations against police violence took place throughout the city, some of them partly spontaneous, with tens of thousands of workers and youth protesting in Washington Square Park on December 15.

After the December 20 shooting, however, elements of the state apparatus attempted to go on a counteroffensive. Police union officials claimed that de Blasio had blood on his hands for his supposed tolerance of anti-police-violence protests, and the NYPD staged a near-mutiny when cops turned their backs on de Blasio on several occasions in what became a political mobilization of the police. Over the next few weeks, NYPD officers then performed a systematic slowdown in arrests and citations for minor crimes across the city.

While police surveillance and intimidation of protesters during this period were undoubtedly intensified, these practices certainly did not begin from scratch. Spying on protesters in New York City who have not broken the law and represent no threat to public safety is the modus operandi of the NYPD and other state agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

The NYPD has a long and well-documented history of spying on and harassing Muslims in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. More recently New York cops have video-recorded, photographed, followed and intimidated nonviolent protesters, such as those involved in the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. The NYPD also subjected these protesters to beatings, pepper spraying and the use of LRAD sound cannons. One of the most egregious state attacks on protesters’ democratic rights was the frame-up of organizer Cecily MacMillan in 2014.

There can be little doubt that the documents published by the Intercept are only the tip of an iceberg of sustained and extensive surveillance of organizers of and participants in protests against police violence, not only in New York City, but throughout the United States.

Nazi violence, anti-nazi pro refugee demonstration in Germany


Welcome party for refugees in Heidenau, Germany

This video is about the welcome party for refugees from wars in Heidenau, Germany, yesterday. The caption of the photo says (translated):

The deputy leader of the Left Party, Caren Lay, takes part in the welcoming party in Heidenau. She said: “I am delighted that the festival can take place thanks to the court decision, the Saxon CDU [‘center right’ governing party] has once again demonstrated their complete failure in the asylum policy. And because they have been doing nothing for years when one needs to combat the right-wing mob, it bears partial responsibility for the situation!”

Translated from weekly stern in Germany today:

Pirna – In Pirna in Saxony an office of the Left Party has been attacked in the night. Unknown attackers destroyed in the district office five window panes and damaged the front door, as police in Dresden said. Whether there is a connection with the xenophobic protests in neighboring Heidenau, the police could not say. Heidenau itself has remained calm after protests by the far right. Left-wing groups in Dresden have called for a demonstration today for the protection of refugees and against the government’s asylum policy in Germany.

See also here.

Refugees from wars, welcomed by people, abused by governments


This video from Germany says about itself:

Germany: Heidenau holds “Welcome Festival” for newly arrived refugees

28 August 2015

Hundreds of volunteers gathered in Heidenau on Friday to host a celebration aimed at welcoming newly arrived refugees to Germany, after last weekend’s attacks on the refugees by far-right radicals.

From Deutsche Welle in Germany:

Cake and politicians at ‘Refugees Welcome’ party in Heidenau

28 August 2015

The party took place in Heidenau after all, despite a police ban that was lifted following a political outcry. As Ben Knight reports, the event was largely peaceful, as refugees gathered [around] a truck full of donated clothes.

Few disused hardware stores in neglected eastern German towns have received this much attention from major politicians in recent years. The Praktiker store in Heidenau, closed two years ago and hastily converted into a makeshift refugee shelter last week, has now hosted three major political leaders in the space of a week.

But the last of these visits, on Friday by Green party leader Cem Özdemir, was initially undertaken in a more troublemaking spirit than the first two. Both Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel‘s visit on Monday and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s on Wednesday were standard displays of political defiance against the far-right violence that made Heidenau the most infamous town in Germany last weekend.

But Özdemir was here to a defy a ban, imposed by regional Saxony authorities on the grounds that “the available police resources are not capable of getting the measure of predicted developments in the situation.”

In the event, Saxony police were spared the embarrassment of handcuffing a party leader, as an expedited court order ruled the ban unlawful, allowing a planned “welcome party” to show support for the refugees to go ahead.

Özdemir milder, with cake

Özdemir arrived, bearing cherry cake, and told reporters, “When I got on the train they said the party couldn’t take place, and by the time I got off, they said it could.” He also struck a much more conciliatory note than during his outraged appearance on the TV news show “Morgenmagazin,” when he accused the Saxony state government of “suspending democracy.”

“I’m pleased that the administrative court shares my opinion, and I think the opinion of everyone here, that there can’t be a state of emergency, if only because one can call for help from neighboring states,” he told reporters in Heidenau. “When there’s a G7 summit, when there’s a football game, [the police] can call for help from other states, why can’t they do it when neo-Nazis and fascists threaten people?”

Özdemir got a much friendlier reception from volunteers than Markus Ulbig, Saxony’s Christian Democrat interior minister, who had to be carefully shielded by security guards. Ulbig, who has been blamed for the failure to prepare for last weekend’s violence and for condoning the police ban, was jeered as he tried to deliver statements to the press. “Get out! You weren’t invited!” demonstrators chanted. “You could’ve come last Sunday.”

“All I can say is that it is good that this party is taking place here today,” Ulbig managed to tell reporters, before virtually being driven from the grounds by angry leftists.

With no sign of neo-Nazis throughout the afternoon, except for an isolated cluster of men who shouted abuse at passing anti-fascists from behind a bush across the road, this was as close as the party came to spilling over into violence. The police also kept their distance, though many were dressed in riot gear, while other units had been positioned around the town and at the train station.

Donations and local pride

In the event, the politicians’ visits were largely overshadowed by the “Refugees Welcome” party itself – which came complete with barbecue, salad, fruit, Özdemir’s cake, “anti-fascists” who juggled, span plates, and sang left-wing anthems, and a bouncy castle. There was also a truck full of donated clothes, toys, shampoo, and toothpaste, much of which was desperately needed in the shelter, which, the refugees said, had only the most basic hygiene facilities.

A few Heidenauers appeared at the party too, as much to defend the honor of their home town as to bring donations. “I was ashamed on Wednesday, when the chancellor came and they [nazis] shouted ‘traitor’ at her,” one old man told DW. “I was a refugee myself – at the end of the war, I was twelve when I came here.”

“People left East Germany after the Wall came down, for much smaller reasons than these people are coming here,” said a Heidenau woman, adding some of grandchildren’s discarded toys to the pile. “I wouldn’t like to have to flee a war.”

The truck of donations, and the party, had been organized by a network of “anti-fascist” groups from Dresden and elsewhere, as well as a refugee group from the Oranienplatz protest camp in Berlin. Among these was Adam Bahar, himself a refugee from Sudan who has been in Germany for three years.

“It was important for us to show solidarity with other refugees,” he said. “But we are also doing something good for Germany – we are showing that people are welcoming, you know, and that they have an open mind.”

Bahar also expressed shock, as many in Germany have, that the authorities have appeared so unprepared to cope with the new influx of refugees. “There’s been a war in Syria for more than four years,” he said.

“I’m really surprised that the people who have the power in this country don’t see this. Instead they make propaganda and say, ‘Ah! Too many people are coming.’ It’s not true – for example in Turkey there are more than two million refugees from Syria – but I don’t see Turkish people attacking refugees.”

True for the big majority of Turkish people; though some Turkish soldiers did kill refugees.

By Marianne Arens and Patrick Martin:

Casualties of “Fortress Europe”: Refugees dead on land and sea

29 August 2015

The death toll among desperate refugees fleeing war zones in the Middle East and Africa continues to mount, with horrifying scenes that go beyond anything seen in Europe since World War II.

The vast majority of these refugees are seeking to escape violence unleashed on their homes and families by the imperialist powers, above all the United States, with its accomplices including France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Once they escape their home countries, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and various countries in east and west Africa, the refugees encounter still more violence at every step: from police and border guards, from smugglers like those who asphyxiated refugees in the hold of a ship and the van of a truck, and from neo-Nazi mobs in Saxony, who were permitted to attack them by German police.

More than 300,000 have already crossed the Mediterranean Sea this year, more than in all of 2014, according to UN and EU figures. This includes an estimated 180,000 making the short crossing from the Turkish mainland to Greek offshore islands, then trekking through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary, and from there throughout the EU.

The UN forecast this week that 3,000 migrants a day were passing through the Balkans by this land route—an annual rate of more than one million people, the bulk of them fleeing the civil war in Syria, fomented by Washington and fueled by weapons supplied by US allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

Another 100,000 or more have made the even more dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, in the course of which at least 2,500 have already lost their lives this year. This toll increased by another 250 Thursday night and Friday morning, as two more ships capsized off the Libyan coast.

At least 150 bodies have been recovered from the twin disasters, involving a small dinghy with perhaps 100 people aboard, and a larger fishing boat loaded with more than 400 people. The Libyan Red Crescent told UN officials Friday that they did not have enough body bags for all the victims of the second, larger sinking.

Most of the victims on the fishing boat had been locked in the ship’s hold when it sank shortly after leaving the port city of Zuwarah, leaving them no escape. About 100 people were rescued alive, and the search was going on for additional bodies among those missing in the sea. The migrants were mainly Africans, officials said.

The International Organization for Migration said that 4,400 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean near Sicily August 22-23, making it one of the busiest weekends for rescue operations this year.

The gruesome tragedy on the A4 motorway between Budapest and Vienna showed the deadly dangers of the supposedly safer land route for refugees. In an abandoned refrigerated truck lay 71 dead people, 59 men, eight women and four children; a girl who was not yet two years old, and three boys, ages between eight and ten years.

An Austrian employee of the motorway company Asfinag discovered the parked truck on Thursday when attending a breakdown near Lake Neusiedl; decomposition fluids were already dripping from the vehicle. The police had the truck towed to a veterinary border service at Nickelsdorf on the Hungarian border, where police investigators retrieved the dead and examined the vehicle before the corpses were taken to the coroner’s office in Vienna.

The cause of death is thought to have been asphyxiation. The truck’s refrigerator compartment, meant for poultry meat, had no fresh air openings. Dents on the side of the vehicle point to what horrific scenes must had occurred in the interior, as the refugees desperately tried to escape the agonizing suffocation.

On Friday, the Hungarian police arrested four people, three Bulgarians and a Hungarian as the owners and drivers of the truck, after surveillance footage at several tollbooths was analyzed. Since then, the media and politicians have indulged in tirades against the criminal traffickers. According to estimates, each of the 71 refugees had to pay up to a thousand euros for the ride.

People trafficking is only such a lucrative business because the EU member states have sealed up their borders so tightly. They are trying to prevent people who are fleeing war and terror from crossing the borders with fences and razor sharp barbed wire, with rigid police controls and attack dogs.

“Whoever really wanted to put a stop to traffickers would deprive them of the basis of their business, i.e. open up Europe’s borders to refugees,” Florian Hassel wrote quite rightly in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “European politicians,” he added, “are not ready to do this.”

The corpse-filled van was discovered while the Western Balkans Summit was taking place a few miles away at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met with the leaders of six Balkan countries. The aim of the gathering was to agree on better control over the routes taken by refugees and to further fortify the EU’s external borders.

Merkel responded to the news of the tragedy by saying that one should approach the subject of migration “quickly and in the European spirit, that is, in the spirit of solidarity.” How this works in practice can be seen by the fact that her government now wants to declare Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania safe countries of origin in order to more rapidly deport people coming to Germany from these countries.

This had been demanded by German Interior Minister de Maiziere only two days previously. He also wants to speed up the deportation of refugees, cut benefits and replace cash in kind support to deter refugees from coming to Germany.

In Austria, the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Conservatives is also moving harshly against refugees. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner responded to the recent refugee crisis by demanding even more restrictive border controls and that traffickers be punished even more stringently.

The night before on the newscast “Zeit im Bild,” Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz had called for a tightening of asylum policy, “much more intensive border controls” and “rapid proceedings” for asylum seekers. He cited Hungary, which is building a four-metre-high fence along its entire 109-mile southern border, as a model, and threatened that other EU members, “not only the Hungarians, but also perhaps we [will] take measures which are not so pleasing.”

A five-point plan presented by the Austrian government in Vienna also includes the use of force to combat criminal gangs and IS forces in the Middle East. The EU had already presented plans in May that provide for a military intervention in Libya. This would amount to a further expansion of the wars that are the main reason millions of people have been forced to flee.

The attitude of the imperialist powers toward the Syrian people is particularly cynical. For four years, they have cited the killing of Syrians by the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the reason for a stepped-up campaign of subversion and violence to overthrow the Assad regime. Yet, when millions of Syrians flee the resulting killing field, they are demonized as invaders threatening the jobs and welfare of the European population, who must be deported or walled off.

The 71 refugees who were found dead in Austria were likely from Syria, as a Syrian travel document was reportedly found among the bodies. This means that they had completed an arduous journey of 3,500 kilometres. An increasing number of Syrians are fleeing to Turkey and from there travel via the Balkan route and over the Aegean to Western Europe, since the North Africa-Italy route has proven to be extremely dangerous and the Mediterranean has increasingly become a mass grave.

The authors also recommend:

The refugee crisis and the inhuman face of European imperialism
[28 August 2015]

Free Bahraini political prisoner Abduljalil al-Singace


This video from England says about itself:

#SingaceHungerStrike – NGOs protest ongoing detention of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace in Bahrain

On Wednesday, 29 July 2015, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), English PEN and Index on Censorship gathered outside the Bahrain Embassy in London to protest the ongoing detention of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace.

Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace is a prominent academic and blogger who promoted human rights in Bahrain throughout the years 2000. After participating in peaceful protests, he was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

From fidh.org:

Dr Abduljalil al-Singace hunger strike hits 160 days, 41 NGOs call for immediate release

28 August 2015

Bahraini prisoner of conscience Dr Abduljalil al-Singace today hits a milestone 160 days of hunger strike as rights organisations appeal for his freedom. Forty-one international NGOs today released an urgent appeal addressed to the Government of Bahrain to release the hunger striker.

Dr Abduljalil al-Singace is a prisoner of conscience and a member of the Bahrain 13, a group of activists arrested by the Bahraini government for their role in peaceful protests in 2011. Dr al-Singace is a blogger, academic, and former Head of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain. Dr al-Singace is currently serving a life sentence ordered by a military court on 22 June 2011.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry met with Dr al-Singace in 2011 and collected testimony regarding his arbitrary arrest and torture. Despite the existence of this testimony, in 2012 a civilian appeals court refused to investigate Dr al-Singace’s credible allegations of abuse and upheld the military court’s decision. Dr al-Singace has received no compensation for the acts of torture that he suffered, nor have his torturers been held accountable for their actions.

On 21 March 2015, Dr al-Singace went on hunger strike in protest at the collective punishment and acts of torture that police inflicted upon prisoners following a riot in Jaw Prison earlier that month. Today, he passed 160 days of hunger strike.

Dr al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome and is disabled. In addition to the torture Dr al-Singace has suffered, his medical conditions have deteriorated considerably as a result of his incarceration. Prison and prison hospital authorities have denied him physiotherapy and surgery to his nose and ears. He is currently being held in solitary confinement in a windowless room in Al-Qalaa hospital.

We remind the Bahraini government of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Bahrain acceded to in 2006. Under the ICCPR Bahrain must ensure that no individual is subjected to arbitrary detention (Article 9) and that everyone enjoys the right to freedom of expression (Article 19). We demand that the government release all individuals who are arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to free expression, whether through peaceful assembly, online blogging or other means. We also remind the Bahraini government of its obligations arising from the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Bahrain is a state party. In 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that arbitrary detention and torture are used systematically in the criminal justice system of Bahrain.

We, the undersigned NGOs, call on the Bahraini authorities to release Dr Abduljalil al-Singace and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

We further call on the international community, and in particular EU member states and the United States, to demand release of Dr al-Singace.

Background Information

Dr al-Singace has been the target of judicial harassment since 2009, when he was arrested for the first time and charged with participating in a terror plot and inciting hatred on his blog, Al-Faseela, which was subsequently banned by Bahraini Internet Service Providers. Dr al-Singace had blogged prolifically and critically against governmental corruption in Bahrain. He was later pardoned by the King and released, although his blog remained banned in Bahrain.

In August 2010, police arrested Dr al-Singace on his return from London, where he had spoken at an event hosted by the House of Lords on Bahrain. A security official at the time claimed he had “abused the freedom of opinion and expression prevailing in the kingdom.” Following his arrest, Bahraini security forces subjected Dr al-Singace to acts of physical torture.

Dr al-Singace received a second royal pardon alongside other political prisoners in February 2011. He was rearrested weeks later in March following the imposition of a state of emergency and the intervention of the Peninsula Shield Force, an army jointly composed of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

On 22 June 2011, a military court sentenced Dr al-Singace to life imprisonment. He is one of thirteen leading human rights and political activists arrested in the same period, subjected to torture, and sentenced in the same case, collectively known as the “Bahrain 13”. A civilian appeals court upheld the sentence on 22 May 2012. The “Bahrain 13” are serving their prison sentences in the Central Jau Prison. Among the “Bahrain 13”, Ebrahim Sharif, former leader of the secular political society Wa’ad, was released by royal pardon on 19 June 2015, but was rearrested weeks later on 11 July, following a speech in which he criticized the government. He currently faces charges of inciting hatred against the regime. On 9 July 2015, the EU Parliament passed an Urgent Resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the “Bahrain 13” and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

During his time in prison, authorities have consistently denied Dr al-Singace the regular medical treatment he requires for his post-polio syndrome, and have failed to provide him with the surgery he requires as a result of the physical torture to which he was subjected in 2011. Dr al-Singace has an infected ear, suffers from vertigo, and has difficulty breathing.

A combination of poor quality prison facilities, overcrowding, systematic torture and ill-treatment led to a riot in Jau Prison on 10 March 2015. Though a minority of prisoners participated in the riot, police collectively punished prisoners, subjecting many of them to torture. Authorities starved prisoners, arbitrarily beat them, and forced them to sleep in courtyards for days, until large tents were erected. Fifty-seven prisoners are currently on trial for allegedly instigating the riot.

In response to these violations, Dr al-Singace began a hunger strike on 21 March. It has now been 160 days since Dr al-Singace has eaten solid foods, and he has lost over 20 kilograms in weight. Dr al-Singace subsists on water, drinking over four litres daily, fizzy drinks for sugar, nutritional supplements, saline injections and yoghurt drink. His intake is monitored by hospital nurses.

Since the start of Dr al-Singace’s hunger strike, he has been transferred to Al-Qalaa Hospital for prisoners, where he has been kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room and has irregular contact with medical staff and family. Prison authorities prevented condolence visits to attend his nephew’s and mother-in-law’s funerals. Dr al-Singace should be immediately released, allowed to continue his work and given full access to appropriate medical treatment without condition.

Last Update 28 August

Signatories:

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
ARTICLE 19
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Bahrain Press Association
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
English Pen
Ethical Journalism Network
European – Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
Index on Censorship
International Forum for Democracy and Human Rights (IFDHR)
Irish Pen
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC)
Maharat Foundation
Mothers Legacy Project
No Peace Without Justice
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
Pen International
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Rafto Foundation
Redress
Reporters Without Borders
Salam for Democracy and Human Rights
Sentinel Human Rights Defenders
Shia Rights Watch
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Tunisia Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Vivarta
Wales PEN Cymru

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

The Committee to Protect Journalists, along with 40 human rights and press freedom groups, is calling on Bahrain to release Abduljalil Alsingace. The imprisoned blogger began waging a partial hunger strike on March 21, 2015 in protest at the maltreatment of prisoners after a riot in Jaw prison earlier that month, according to a campaign set up by his supporters.

United States civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, RIP


This video from the USA says about itself:

Echoes of Selma: Remembering civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson

26 August 2015

After being beaten and left for dead on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, Amelia Boynton Robinson died Wednesday at age 104.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Amelia Boynton Robinson, legendary civil rights activist dies (August 18 1911 August 26 2015)

Friday 28th August 2015

PETER FROST remembers the times and struggles of Amelia Boynton Robinson who died on Wednesday aged 104 at her home in Selma, Alabama

In spring this year, on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday events in Selma, Alabama, Barack Obama — first black president of the United States — pushed a 103 year old woman in a wheelchair at the head of the commemorative march.

She was Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights activist and one of the leaders of the 1965 Selma March. She died in Selma, Alabama, this week aged 104. She had continued to struggle for progressive causes right up until her death.

Amelia Boynton Robinson is perhaps best remembered for the image of her after state troopers attacked the Selma civil rights march with tear gas and batons. The picture of her, unconscious and bloody, flashed around the world and raised sympathy and anger in equal measure wherever it was seen.

On March 7 1965, 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on US Highway 80. The protest went according to plan until the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and entered Dallas County, where they encountered a wall of state troopers and a huge county posse waiting for them on the other side.

The local sheriff had issued an order for all white males over the age of 21 to report to the courthouse that morning to be deputised.

At the bridge the troopers began shoving the demonstrators, knocking many to the ground and beating them with truncheons. Another detachment of troopers fired tear gas, and mounted troopers charged the crowd on horseback.

TV and press images of the brutal attack — with marchers left bloodied and severely injured — won sympathy and support for the Selma voting rights campaigners.

Amelia Boynton, who had helped organise the march as well as marching in it, was beaten unconscious. Photographs of her lying on the road appeared on the front page of newspapers around the world.

In fact she was just one of 17 marchers who were hospitalised and another 50 were treated for lesser injuries. The day soon became known as Bloody Sunday.

Selma is a major town in Dallas County, part of the “Alabama black belt” with a majority black population, 80 per cent of whom lived below the poverty line.

In 1961 of the 15,000 blacks old enough to vote only 130 were registered.

Literacy tests administered unfairly by white registrars kept even educated blacks from registering or voting.

Amelia’s husband Sam and son Bruce joined with others to establish the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) that tried to register black citizens during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Their efforts were blocked by state and local officials, the White Citizens’ Council and the Ku Klux Klan. County officials and the Citizens’ Council used such tactics as restricted registration hours to stop blacks registering.

The white community also applied economic pressure, including threatening black people’s jobs, sacking or evicting them and boycotts of black-owned businesses.

There was also much open violence against blacks who tried to register.

In early 1963, Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee organisers Bernard and Colia Liddel Lafayette came to Selma to help Amelia’s local DCVL. In mid-June, Bernard was beaten and almost killed by Klansmen.

When 32 black schoolteachers applied at the county courthouse to register as voters, they were immediately fired by the all-white school board.

Then on July 2 1964, president Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, prohibiting segregation of public facilities.

The act was ignored in Selma and much of the South with Jim Crow laws and customs remaining in effect.

Blacks who tried to attend the cinema and eat at the hamburger stand were still beaten and arrested.

On July 6 1964, one of the only two voter registration days that month, 50 black citizens marched to the courthouse to register. The county sheriff arrested them all rather than allow them to apply to vote.

Three days later Judge James Hare issued an injunction that made it illegal for more than two people at a time to talk about civil rights or voter registration in Selma.

It was against this background that Amelia Boynton worked with Dr Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, James Bevel and many other legendary civil rights heroes. A series of marches were planned between Montgomery and Selma.

One of 10 children, Amelia Platts was born in Savannah, Georgia, on August 18 1911. As a child, she travelled with her mother by horse and buggy to campaign for votes for women.

At 14, Amelia entered a college for coloured youth and earned a degree in home economics.

She took a job in Dallas County, Alabama, giving instruction in food, nutrition and homemaking in rural households for the department of agriculture.

With her husband, Samuel William Boynton, she spent decades attempting to register black voters. She had managed to register herself in the early ’30s.

Sam Boynton died in 1963 and the following year Amelia ran for Congress. She was the first woman, black or white, ever to do so. She received about 10 per cent of the vote — a great result given how few blacks had the vote.

In 1990 she was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Medal.

Speaking of her heroic part in the historic Selma civil rights marches she said: “I wasn’t looking for notoriety, but if that’s what it took I didn’t care how many licks I got. It just made me even more determined to fight for our cause.”

Emmett Till relatives gather at boy’s grave 60 years later: here.

Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell. Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake: here.

Young Black Man Dies In Jail After Allegedly Stealing $5 Worth Of Candy And Soda: here.